Q. Does the fact that I can see the whole of the Burj Khalifa, the world’s tallest building, from my hotel window mean that:
1. I’m fortunate?
2. My hotel is a long way from down-town Dubai?
Over recent years a transition has taken place away from round crockery toward square crockery… marking the death of silver-service…
The chaos created when a disorganised group of people are left in charge of ‘stuff’ but lacking:
A clearly defined brief;
A coherent strategy;
A desire to collaborate versus compete.
Example: Life on Earth…
Now in my mid-40’s, I reflect that my life’s pretty well been in three discreet thirds…
The first third was mainly (~75%) spent and only partly (~25%) invested as a school pupil through to age 16;
The second third was the reverse with my time being mainly (~75%) invested and only partly (~25%) spent in building my early career in a food-machinery business from age 16 through to 32. There I successfully worked my way up from mechanical engineering apprentice to the front end of the business in sales and business development – with the help of some inspiring people and despite some others…
The last and by some considerable margin the most interesting third has been 100% invested in a diverse variety of business development roles all in the renewable energy sector. I also reflect that this most recent third has been by far the most ‘accelerated’ so far – frankly a blur.
There is no doubt that my own personal trend away from time “spent and/or wasted”, toward time “invested” has borne fruit, both in career-terms and outside of work too in terms of health, fitness, diversity, variety, and happiness.
Of course, what I don’t know, or indeed very few people know, is what fraction of my whole life I’m currently at right now? Three quarters maybe? or even better maybe only half way? or a third of the way through? – who knows?
Therefore, refusing to revert to “spending or wasting” time, I will continue to “invest” the remaining fraction of my life – whatever the size of fraction it ends up being.
My own personal challenge won’t be in maintaining high levels of effort and enthusiasm, but in ensuring it’s channelled toward increasingly meaningful and mindful activities, experiences and people.
I received an email from a guy called Abdullah S. Al-Ariefy who, in a politely worded message, suggested it had been a long time since we last met… only problem for me was that I didn’t recognise this name?
However, we both had the same @Hull.ac.uk e-dresses so I assumed we’d met at one or other University of Hull event and accepted his invitation to meet over breakfast at his home across the road from Campus.
I rang the doorbell and as the door opened the guy was already raising his arms for an embrace… but quickly stopped and said softly “You’re not the Steve Clarke I was expecting”…
He did however lower his right arm suggesting a handshake and gesture with his left arm for me to come on in.
Inside, a traditional Saudi Breakfast had been prepared for the ‘other Steve Clarke’ so, rather than a long catch-up over Breakfast, we shared a getting-to-know-each-other breakfast instead, starting with a variety of sweet Dates and Saudi Coffee, all served by his polite and attentive Son.
I learned that placing the empty cup down on the table meant it wouldn’t automatically be refilled, but tapping it on the table once would be the trigger for his son to refill it.
We then moved through to the dining room where a hot Saudi breakfast buffet was waiting for us, some of which had been brought back from his last visit home, but some of which was available in the UK and had been sourced locally, in Hull.
We also both made contributions to an email for sending later, with Photographs, to ‘the-real-Steve-Clarke’ outlining the nature of our fortuitous accident.
When it came time for me to leave for my next meeting I thanked both Abdullah and his son profusely for their kindness, their hospitality and their generosity.
That wasn’t a breakfast, it was a lesson in kindness and culture.
What do they mean she’s not normal?
What do they mean they don’t like her ’cause she’s “different”?
Why do they say her way is wrong and she should do things their way?
Why do they assert that she won’t get along unless she gets in-line?
Why do they tell others that she’s not like them?
There are lots of brains connected to lots of eyes, lots of ears and lots of mouths on this overcrowded planet, some belong to humans & some to animals. Interesting that their eyes & ears perceive negativity in her. Interesting that their brains relay that negativity to their mouths, perpetuating the myth that “she’s not normal…”
If only they would look around at what has come to be “normal” nowadays on this overcrowded planet:
– Climate change is creating floods at the same time as drought;
– Arrogance, wealth & power have combined to create famine & food-banks at the same time as an obesity epidemic;
– Human demand for development, growth and material goods is fueling deforestation and extinction of habitat & species.
Therefore, we thank those who say she’s “different”, we thank them for agreeing she’s not normal…
Clearly, normal is broken.
She is a beautiful human being…
Her life is filled with love, happiness & purpose… is theirs?
Headlines today, Tues 1st April 2014, suggest a public outcry at the £90 price-tag for the England Replica Football shirts ahead of World Cup 2014 in Brazil!
The Nike website suggests that the price reflects the nature of the innovative “enhanced cooling technology” in the material used to make the kit…
…I’m sure that will be very useful for the Players running around the pitch for 90 mins in Brazil, but I’m sure the average Fan in the stadium would be happy with something that simply ‘stretches’.
Let’s hope it’s just an April-Fools prank by Nike.
Headlines today, Monday 31st March 2014, include insight to the UK’s first ever annual report to Parliament by Her Majesty’s Chief Inspector of Constabulary, Tom Winsor, a key finding from which is that, due to high profile and widely reported scandals, the reputation of the Police is “damaged but not broken”.
But I venture to suggest it’s not just the high profile cases of malpractice, wrongdoing and corruption, like the Stephen Lawrence murder investigation, the Hillsborough disaster and the Andrew Mitchell Plebgate scandal, which are having an adverse impact on our trust in the Police and corroding the British model of policing by consent.
My experience is that the police simply don’t help themselves…
For example, I wonder how balanced are “The Scales of Justice” in terms of my own limited dealings with the police…?
On one side of the scales, thankfully, I’ve had very little to do with the police and on the other side of the scales I like to think I’ve built up loads of “credit”. Credit in terms of working hard since leaving school; having always paid my taxes and national insurance; given back to society through being a Foster parent; maintaining a full clean driving licence for both car and motorbike; having passed an Advance Institute of Motoring “Defensive Driving” course; ensured that my vehicles are well maintained, taxed, MOT’d and insured… etc. etc. basically, built up credit by trying to do everything right by the law, just like the vast majority of other good citizens out there!
One would therefore hope and assume that “The Scales of Justice” are irrefutably tipped in my favour – right?
On a Petrol Station Forecourt recently, I was approached by one of three fully tooled-up Policemen in a Volvo pursuit vehicle. He gave me a £60.00 on the spot fine for the incorrect spacing of the letters on my vehicle registration plate despite the forecourt cameras being able to read the number plate without issue.
That certainly damaged my trust in the Police and eroded their reputation in my eyes.
Therein lies the dichotomy. If the instant decisions of the Police are so manifestly binary with no appreciation of the good stuff that’s gone before, then is it any wonder that people have little appreciation or respect for the good stuff they do either?
Headlines today, Friday 28th March 2014, include the landmark legislation in England and Wales that comes into force at midnight allowing gay couples to marry!
Clearly, some people are pro, some are anti, whilst others are undecided or don’t express a view either way. In general terms though, people who express a view, express a strong view.
What I find interesting reading some of the blogs, news reports, headlines and polls is that most opposition is based on convention and religion.
Whilst I personally don’t have religion in my life, I do witness on a daily basis the overwhelming adverse impact of mankind on our planet and conclude that global population growth is the single greatest challenge facing mankind going forward.
So, whilst I really don’t have a strong view either way on gay marriage, I do see that the current UK model of “meet, marry, have 1.9* kids” is simply broken.
Hopefully, therefore, loving gay couples will have fewer children of their own and Fostering and Adoption rates will rise.